Amy Drake Boitnott Jane Haley

In the process of achieving a milestone in nursing education, Amy Drake Boitnott (Nurs ’09) designed a program that could benefit legions of children and families.

Boitnott recently became the commonwealth of Virginia’s first Doctor of Nursing Practice when she completed her program at the UVA Nursing School.

“The DNP represents the highest level of nursing practice,” said Nursing School Dean Dorrie Fontaine in awarding the degree.

Unlike a Ph.D., which focuses on pure research, the Doctor of Nursing Practice uses evidence-based research to develop interventions intended to improve clinical practice. Boitnott focused on childhood obesity, which affects one in five children in the U.S., and devised a series of sessions with parents aimed at improving the quality of family life through increased physical activity and proper nutrition.

The current shortage of nurses and nursing faculty underlines the importance of UVA’s DNP program, which nurtures those who will educate and serve as mentors and models for nurse clinicians, says Fontaine.